Only one in four of lecturers' line managers understands the law on avoiding staff stress at work, according to a poll of human resources managers.
A survey by MarshallACM found that 75 per cent of respondents said staff stress had increased in the past five years. One in four said the "culture and structure" of universities and colleges was to blame.
Some 64 per cent said their institution had programmes in place to combat stress, although only 7 per cent said training was given to all staff on stress prevention.
Most worrying, according to MarshallACM, is that only 25 per cent of line managers said they knew the legal implications of the Health and Safety Executive's new guidance on stress. David Marshall, chief executive of MarshallACM, said: "Few (institutions) seem to have educated managers on looking for the signs of stress and understanding their duty of care to staff ... It is all about reducing the cause of the problem rather than trying to stick a plaster on afterwards."